“Kyiv” and “Kiev”: two different cities, or simply two ways of spelling? This question worries, perhaps, the majority of foreigners. For many, the name of the capital of Ukraine has become a kind of puzzle.
However, which version of the name is correct?
In fact, now it is more correct to use the word “Kyiv”. This is the official Latin transliteration from the Ukrainian language. As a rule, the original language of the name is used to translate names into English.
By the way, the government of Ukraine adopted a law according to which all proper names should be translated based on the standards of the Ukrainian language.
Why is there a dilemma of using two names?
First of all, the confusion is due to the fact that if “Kyiv” is the Ukrainian version of the name, the word “Kiev” came from the Russian language.
In general, the reason for the emergence of the two names is historical. After all, Ukraine got full independence only in 1991. Before that, it was part of the Soviet Union. And in Soviet times, Russian versions of the names were used very often.
Hence, in the 20th century, the Russian transliteration of the name gained immense popularity. Considering that half of the population of Ukraine (mostly east and south) speak Russian, therefore “Kiev” is closer to them.
Which variant do foreigners prefer?
Despite the new rules, many foreigners still prefer the Russian version.
To confirm this, it is better to do some research.
When you enter the name “Kiev” in a Google search engine, you will have access to almost seven times more links than with the word “Kyiv”. Even on the social network Instagram, the number of hashtags “Kiev” is twice more.
Why has this issue become especially acute?
Previously, no one attached great importance to this. However, after the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, for many, it has become more fundamental than ever.
In addition, in 2018, the Ukrainian government, in particular the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, launched a global flash mob on social networks under the hashtags #CorrectUA and #KyivNotKiev. The aim of the project was to promote the use of the Ukrainian version of the name abroad.
Meanwhile, it is important to note that this action had many positive results. After its start, such international companies as BBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Daily Telegraph began to use the Ukrainian version of the name.
Moreover, in June 2019, the name “Kyiv” was officially approved by the United States Board on Geographic Names as the only correct one.
Nevertheless, the picturesque capital of Ukraine is happy to welcome all tourists, no matter what variant of the name they use.